Research finally demonstrates the ROI and business value of design

McKinsey remarkable research looked at the performance of 300 publicly listed companies over a five-year period:

  1. First, their financial performance: How did they do in terms of revenue, in terms of profit, in terms of shareholder return?
  2. Second, “What are the design actions that those companies took over that same period?”: The design action could be putting someone in the executive board who has a responsibility for design or it could be changing people’s bonus structure to tie to design metrics, not just financial metrics.

And the correlation between those two.They ended up with a unique database which contains two million financial data points, 110,000 design actions.

Top-line results: good design is good business; across a very broad set of industries (FMCG, medical devices, retail banking)

Is product design different from service design? Is that different from digital design? Is only one of these tied to improved business performance? “No, this is about design overall. It’s about understanding your customers. It’s about creating a great solution for them. And it doesn’t matter whether that’s physical, digital, or service.”


“ if you do design fantastically well, you stand out from the competition, then you are disproportionately rewarded in terms of revenue and certainly disproportionately rewarded in terms of the market.”